Look around you, what do you see? Maybe you see your grocery list, a street sign or even a take- out menu. All of these things are called environmental print. Environmental print surrounds us throughout the day and appears in many forms. For some of our students environmental print can be a gate way to successful interactions with text and assist them with receptive language acquisition.
By engaging students in their environmental print and calling attention to letters and words they see every day you can increase student confidence in reading, support letter-word knowledge, and facilitate making connections between words and even locations (such as school and home).
Suggestions to incorporate environmental print into your routine:
- ask your student to identify names of favorite characters, restaurants or stores, then see if they can name another character, store or restaurant that begins with the same letter, or has the same beginning sound (for example: McDonalds and Mighty Mouse)
- when you are at the grocery store, or using a store flyer, have your student match products with the same letter sounds at the beginning or end of the words
- have your student read street signs as you go by or count the number of times you see a certain sign (for example: go on a hunt for 35 MPH speed limit signs)
- circle or stamp with a bingo stamper all the products that start with the same letter in a store flyer
- ask your student to write the first letter of different items on the grocery list (for example: they write “r” for rice and you complete the word with “ice”
- cut out logos of familiar products, stores, restaurants and ask your student to match logos
Note: Be creative! This is certainly not an exhaustive list but it will hopefully give you some ideas to help support your child’s literacy development at home. Also, not all activities can be used by all students, use your knowledge of your child to engage with materials in an appropriate way.
Erin Warin, M.Ed.
Literacy and Assessment Specialist
Alternative Paths Training School
Ms. Warin graduated from SUNY College at Brockport with a degree in history and certification in elementary education (grades 1-6) and special education (grades 1-6). Ms. Warin continued on to graduate school at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York and graduated with a Master’s of Education in Literacy (Birth-Grade 8). She moved to Virginia in 2011 to begin teaching elementary students at APTS. She has since obtained her Virginia Postgraduate Professional License with endorsements in special education-general curriculum (grades K-12) and elementary education (grades prek-6), and is working towards obtaining her literacy endorsement. Ms. Warin continues to read and study in order to stay current with methodologies and best practice strategies.
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